The Laws For Self-Driving Cars Are Coming

We all talk about self-driving cars as though it is an inevitable, a guaranteed aspect for the future, but what we don’t talk about is the nitty gritty around self-driving cars. They can’t just adopt the same laws as vehicles now, they are a completely different ball park. But that’s all to change. The talk of self-driving vehicles has just taking a huge leap forward, with the UK Government set to review the laws in regarding transport with a three-year review, enabling self – driving cars to be on our roads by 2021. 

The development of fully autonomous vehicles is at the heart of the governments industrial strategy and the 3-year law review is considered necessary if fully autonomous vehicles are to stick around. The Treasury’s Post-Brexit economic survival strategy is to invest heavily in technological innovation, and the British government anticipates that the UK will be pioneering the use of autonomous vehicles on our highways in the near future. The problem of course is that British transport will be entering into a whole new era, meaning that by doing this, it throws up huge problems to the existing system of Laws which starts from the presumption of human responsibility. 

The three-year review, to be conducted by the Law Commission of England and Wales, and the Scottish Law Commission, will look at how traditional laws need to be adjusted to take account of issues including self-driving vehicles not having a steering wheel, and not having a person to control the vehicle of something does go wrong. 

The law is likely to consider the difficulty question if who is liable in an accident involving a driverless car or bus – the manufacturers, operator or other drivers. The review will identify pressing problems in the law that may become barriers to the use of automated vehicles in the future, as well as considering broader, longer – term reforms. What this means is that, over the next three years, the review that the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) initially pitched, will iron out any potential problem or difficulty that having legal automated vehicles may incur.

We have gone past the stage of just talking about self-driving cars and are now looking to implement them into our transport. It is not lost on anyone in the UK government that the future success of a Post-Brexit Britain will rely on technology, with the technology sector being the most successful sector in our economy, kicking finance off the top spot for the first time ever. 

The commission says it plans to “promote public confidence in the safe use of automated vehicles, and to ensure the UK has a vibrant, world leading connected and automated vehicles industry. 

The Government is looking to invest 22 million pounds in driverless cars. That money is set to fund 22 different projects that will look thoroughly into the technology needed to achieve this goal. There is set to be even more money invested into autonomous vehicles, and not just in regards to public transport, money has already been spent looking into whether these cars can be used in hostile, and dangerous scenarios. 

This is an incredibly exciting time. It is clear that the government is taking this extremely seriously, and Chancellor Hammond’s prediction of three years seems to be a very achievable goal. The GATEway is already zipping around Greenwich, we just need to take it to the next level.